State sen. Leticia Van De Putte and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, both candidates in the lieutenant governor's race, traded barbs at the Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference in Austin. The friction continued to come from statements made by Dewhurst about the importance of certain Senate committees.
A few months ago, Dewhurst, when asked why he appointed so many Democrats to head up Senate committees, said he only appointed them to non-important groups -- that includes the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs and Military Installations.
"He said he didn’t think the committee that I chaired was relevant or of importance and I think veterans are important," said Van De Putte, the likely Democratic nominee. "I think military members and their families are important so I’m glad that the lieutenant governor maybe has changed his mind because he was trying to dis' me."
The impromptu debate came after Dewhurst added veteran’s affairs issues to the list of things the Senate will study during the interim period. Dewhurst said his comments were misconstrued.
"Oh, that’s silly politics and Sen. Van De Putte is taking it out of context," Dewhurst said.
Dewhurst reasoned he didn’t want the veterans affairs committee to be controlled by a Republican majority because of the exchange of bipartisan issues that committee is in charge of.
"Well what I was saying is we have a Republican majority in every committee with exception, quite frankly, of our veterans committee because I don’t want that to be partisan," Dewhurst said. "I want it to be bi-partisan and that committee deals with bi-partisan legislation."
Political experts say that really doesn’t explain his earlier comments.